Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sign of a failure

When a job you interview for can interview you Thursday morning, and get a letter to you via first class post on Saturday morning saying you didn't get the job, the first thought is you must have been shit.

The second thought however is only one that I can form, which is one of relief that I was unsuccessful. Sure, that comes across as bitter but its really not. In actuality, its me being pleased for a number of reasons. The main one being travelling to Petersfield from Portsmouth for £10500pa? fuck right off! secondly, its so very quiet. When you say 4000 visitors a year quickly, that sounds pretty good. but then it should be remembered that there is 52 weeks in a year (and they are closed for 12 of them). On average, 100 visitors a week. Which spread over 5 days....ain't much! The retail side of the job (considering the number of volunteers that work for them) is quite small. Literally need to set up the shop for the different seasons, monitor stock sales, and cash up tills. That's about it (apparently I'm incapable of those things which considering my current job, awkward!)

But whatever, another setback in my desire for a new challenge. Applied for some more stuff in the last week (including another part time job in Petersfield....some people never learn). Applied for some more office based stuff as well so we'll see how that goes. Desperately trying to avoid applying for Krispy Kreme though. That's not something I want on my CV...Shelf Stacker to Donut Maker. Go team graduate!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Awkward

Yup...dispensed some musings on my miserable life to someone else tonight who thought it was deep. Hmm, I probably shouldn't have but oh well! I'm miserable, don't ask me for advice!

In other news, I have an interview today! Hope it goes well. Really do....for serious

Friday, 11 December 2009

Inglorious Basterds - The Best Tarantino Film?

On Monday, the latest film by Quentin Tarantino was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. On Tuesday, I made it my mission to go out and purchase this DVD. I am struggling to think of a recent new release which I have bought within days of its release. Having seen the film twice at the cinema, I decided it was one which needed to be purchased. There are also very few new releases which make me say "i love this film". The Hurt Locker was a genius film, and This Is It was damn good also (granted, I'm a fan of Michael Jackson's music, so I guess that swayed me a little). I hope to purchase both of these at some point, but will not rush to get them, like I did Inglorious Basterds.

After watching it at the cinema, it was clear to me that this was one of the best films I've ever seen. It had a home in my list of favourite ever films along with The Dark Knight, Fight Club, Inside Man, The Green Mile, Phonebooth, Bad Boys 2, Sin City, and of course, Pulp Fiction. There is so much about the film which makes me smile, laugh and feel nervous about. In particular, the SS Colonel Hans Landa is one of the best characters I've seen in a movie for a long time. This character made me smile (by smoking a comically big pipe in a serious scene), made me feel nervous (when he discussed with the opening character about hiding jews and when he met with Shosanna) and laugh (when conversing with Lt. Raine about american expressions - "Thats a Bingo!"). The film keeps me hooked throughout with its powerful ending of Shosanna's plan and the Basterds plan coming together (albeit independently) and wiping out the Nazi Govt. The ending is also superb, with the evil Landa getting his comeuppance and getting his forehead carved with a swastika. Indeed, it is Raine's masterpiece...and perhaps Tarantino's.

for the TL;DR people of that last paragraph, there is a lot about the film which I love. One problem with a man like Quentin Tarantino is whenever he releases a new film, it is naturally compared with its predecessors. Where does it fit in with his other films? My personal order is this:

1. Pulp Fiction
1. Inglorious Basterds
3. Kill Bill Vol. 2
4. Kill Bill Vol. 1
5. Reservoir Dogs
6. Jackie Brown

To say a film is better than Pulp Fiction is a bold statement. In my all time favourite list of films, there are only two with permanent spots which are Fight Club (at no1) and Pulp Fiction (at no2). Inglorious Basterds is such a good film, but is it Tarantino's best? Personally, I feel that the two films are as good as each other. I don't hesistate to place Inglorious Basterds on top of the other films Tarantino has made, but better than Pulp Fiction? Its a very tough call. I need to watch the two films back to back to make a proper decision. Aside from that being a great day for movie watching, it will help decide.

For now, the two films are level. However Inglorious Basterds is starting to get its nose out infront. I've watched it each day since buying it, and am still not getting bored of any moment in it. The desire to watch Pulp Fiction is always there, but not on a daily basis like Inglorious Basterds is. If you have not seen this movie, go and rent/buy it. If you have, then chances are you'll agree with my sentiments and know what I'm saying.

To summarise. Inglorious Basterds is an amazing movie. Kudos to Tarantino for making yet another brilliant movie.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A thought has occured

I pretty much neglect this page as I don't often feel the need to write a long winded blog unless I have something I want to express, or something which I wish to rant about (indeed I could write a whole essay on work, but I won't....at least not yet). However, a conversation between myself and a friend (who shall remain nameless) and the subsequent twitter post I made has really got me thinking (by the way, shameless plug but you can follow me on twitter @MikeyTRRP and also the podcast me and Dave host, @RandomRantings)

So the essential basis of this conversation is that this weekend for many local residents will involve the excessive consumption of alcohol. This is due to obvious saturday night clubbing and on sunday, Love Albert Road Day. I have no problem with people doing this (I indeed do it myself from time to time). However, why would someone who knows that the excessive consumption of alcohol renders them unhappy, go out of their way to spoil their mood? I've not really given this much thought until today but it just occured to me. I guess the question I am asking is if you know doing something will cause you unhappiness (or pain), then why do it? The scary word associated with what I am discussing is addiction however I do not believe in this, or in many cases that I'm sure are similar, that addiction is the correct terminology.

So if it is not addiction, what is it? One wonders if the bad mood is simply a front for a desire to attract attention? One of the joys of social networking is that you can post you are having a bad day, or feel like utter crap and some friends will come and try and pick your spirits up. Indeed that is what friends do. But is this why people do things which make them unhappy? To seek attention from others? That is a very harsh thought, however when wondering the answer to this question (and having ruled out addiction), all possibilities must be considered. I'd like to state that I am not accusing my friend of attention seeking, but I cannot fathom why in two weeks, a mood can be "I want to get hammered" to "I'm in a bad place because I drank too much, and its not a hangover" to "I want to get hammered".

Why do people do things which will inevitably cause them unhappiness? I try to avoid things which cause me unhappiness, which is why this weekend I'll unlikely partake in the vast consuming of alcohol, as I don't wish to be hungover at work. Work makes me unhappy enough but sadly its a necessity. It is the main driving factor to why I no longer go out to Route 66 on a Monday. I left so many times when I was nearing the end in a bad mood cause I had a shit night, or I was bored. I stopped going and now just go to the pub on Mondays, and I have alot more fun, I spend alot less money, and I significantly decrease my chances of waking up hungover and in a shit mood.

The only answer at the moment I can think of is "making the same mistakes over and over". If excessive drinking causes you unhappiness, then don't do it (or at least, don't do it so often).

If anyone reads this, and has an answer, do tell me if I'm being short-sighted

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Post!

Wow, I posted a long time ago that I was planning the first actual post, and never did. I think its been 9 months. The domain for this site is due to expire in 3 months, but as the site is really Blogger, i'll likely change the domain name. Anyways, I'm gonna start using this more and more I think. Its a good way to cure boredom, even if the posts that come out of boredom may not be the most interesting to read.

Anyways, This post is simply ripped from Facebook and its a review of the day I spent at the Sonisphere Festival @ Knebworth (not London! fucking moron from Limp Bizkit...). It does have some references to it being an FB post which frankily I couldn't care less about!

Sunday @ Sonisphere – A Review

This’ll likely be done in spoken word on the next RRP but with more discussions and debates. Anyways, before the day I was pretty excited about this for a number of reasons. Firstly, only day at a festival this year for me as other plans fell through for one reason or another. Secondly, I’d get to see Metallica and NIN again. Last but not least, the line-up for the day had enough to justify the money spent on the ticket. However the one thing which was not fun was the prospect of a 4.30am start to get there. I could have got the train and been able to wake up at a more agreeable time, but transport there and back for £23 by coach was pretty damn good (think the train was more than £45). Didn’t oversleep which was a plus, and got to the coach station and set off for London. This journey was going to take a lot longer than a train would but that was mainly due to the 2hr 10min wait in Victoria for the coach to Stevenage. That passed by in a fairly eventless fashion and then the coach arrived for Stevenage. The driver of said coach, aware that most of the passengers were off to Sonisphere for the day dropped off on a small stretch of pavement near the motorway. I’m unsure whether that was a sanctioned stop or not but either way it was cool to have arrived and be right near the festival.



The walk from where we were dropped off to the festival was fairly long but nothing too severe (nothing in comparison to the walk from the tent to the arena at Rock AM Ring) however the cattle grate was fun. No-one I was with fell which is all good. Seems like something they might have covered up what with the possibility of inebriated festival goers needing to use the path but oh well. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Got through the gate fine (without security padding anyone down, which doesn’t seem like the safest thing in the world) and walked past what sounded like Rise To Remain playing the Bohemia stage to go grab a drink and see Paradise Lost (7)
Paradise Lost
. I’ve listened to them very on and off since they were announced as support to Opeth all those years ago when they played the Pyramids Plaza in Portsmouth (a gig I really wish I’d gone to) and thought they were alright. Live they were pretty good so that was a positive start to the day. After a stroll over to the Hog Roast stand for a baguette which was pretty nice, I was able to listen to Killing Joke (6). On record they are alright but they don’t do a lot for me. However live they seemed significantly better and I reckon had I bothered to stroll a bit further forward to actually watch them, the rating would be higher. We had decided to stand fairly far back so getting a good spot for the next band on main stage wouldn’t be a problem. However we were in a good spot for the next band on the 2nd stage, Saxon (7)
Saxon
. Thought they were very good at RaR in 2008, and thought they were very good at Sonisphere. Song of the set for me was Heavy Metal Thunder. Just over half way through their set, we moved into a spot at main stage. Before Lamb of God (8) came on, this random woman was on main stage talking about how awesome the festival was, and how you shouldn’t wear white trousers blah blah... but then she introduced the guitar hero band who did a fairly good job of One. She also promised to have sex with everyone in the crowd if we watched the guitar hero band do their thing. Despite that not being the classiest of things, I’m assuming the coupon will be in the mail?
Anyways, would have liked to see Lamb of God get an hour set but oh well. I enjoyed the classics that they played and this performance has also given me new found respect for the new album, Wrath (which I’ve never really gotten into bar a few tracks). At this point, they were the band of the day
Lamb of God
. The lead singer completely spoiled the “surprise” of who the special guests were, which was entertaining. We decided that instead of running to the Bohemia stage to catch Dead By April, we’d keep our spots to see Machine Head (8). However this meant that we could hear Mastodon. No rating for them as I didn’t like them but I could barely hear them and wasn’t really paying attention. After making endless jokes about MH rarely changing their set and relying too much on The Blackening, they opened with Imperium (a song which while usually played, has not been the opener for the 6 previous times I’d seen them) – it’s as if they knew people were making jokes!
Machine Head (The Not-So-Secret Special Guests)
Their set was actually pretty good and I’m happy I left when I did because I got to hear songs I’d not heard live in a while (left during Bulldozer which was cool). They also played Beautiful Mourning which I was happy to hear live (A song from the Blackening which I hadn’t heard before Sunday). I must confess to not being overly impressed about Rob Flynn talking to the crowd and claiming it was the fans which is why they came back onto the line-up after pulling out. Sorry but it’s fairly obvious they offered the same stage time as Limp Bizkit and NIN, and were offered more money. They were offered more money and a longer set on 2nd stage but they decided to leave the bill. Suddenly a special guest slot appears on main stage. I might be a cynic but the playing for the fans was not the sole reason for coming back to the line-up.


We left early (by we, I mean me, Dave and Paul) to head to the Bohemia stage to watch Corey Taylor do a solo set. However after buying smokes (cigarettes in a tin, what sort of world is this?!), we were able to get to Bohemia to hear the end of Lauren Harris (6)
Lauren Harris (Bohemia Stage and my camera didnt get on...)
. Her band doesn’t do a lot for me however there was something about the end of that performance that impressed me. Listened to a couple outside the tent and the last song from inside it, but still it was pretty good. I’m guessing at the moment, she suits the smaller environments rather than the stages of Earls Court and Wacken. Onto Corey Taylor (5)
Corey Taylor (Bohemia Stage and my camera didnt get on...)
.This was something I had been looking forward to since he was announced but also something I was intrigued about as it was billed as an acoustic set. I assumed we’d get covers of the lighter, more ballad-y songs from Stone Sour and Slipknot. The set was delayed by sound problems by the looks (and sounds) of things, which was slightly frustrating as I had the desire to get back to main stage for the next band. However he came out and opened with one of his new songs. I don’t know exactly what I expected this to be, but it wasn’t something I liked. The covers of Through Glass and Bother were absolute genius, but his solo stuff struck me as self-indulgent crap. This was a fairly significant disappointment considering. Going to see him meant missing most of Feeder (6). Got to hear Just a Day which sounded awesome and they seemed to have more life about them during that song than during their Reading set in 2008. Again, like Killing Joke, their rating might be higher if I had seen the whole set (which looking back, I wish I had have done). Heading back to the trusty spot we had for Machine Head, Limp Bizkit (7.5) came to the stage.
Limp Bizkit
DJ Lethal allegedly proved there was no animosity between them and Machine Head by wearing one of their shirts but whatever. They got off to a strong start with My Generation, and played other classics like Rollin’, Faith, Break Stuff, My Way and Take a Look Around. However after My Generation they played two songs which I’d argue based on the crowd reaction from where we were and looking forward the crowd didn’t seem to care for. Fred Durst seemed to acknowledge this by saying “you look like a crowd of people who look like they don’t give a shit”. Based on the after song reactions, and reactions when he was talking, this did seem to be the case.
Limp Bizkit
The set livened up, both on stage and in the crowd from Rollin’ onwards, but before that there really seemed to be something missing, and the silences were just awkward. After their set finished, there was a mass exodus, heading towards second stage to see Alice In Chains. However, as there was only one of us who likes them, he didn’t fancy going alone and trying to find us after (what with seemingly shit phone signal at times), we got something to eat and drink, and headed down the front for the last ever show in Europe (in theory) for Nine Inch Nails (10). To be honest, getting down the front was easy due to the lack of people who were prepared to sacrifice seeing Alice In Chains. Personally I was happy I couldn’t hear them from where I was standing (at this junction, I should point out I’m not a fan). The wait before NIN had some interesting moments. The key one, in my mind, was a woman crowd surfing on an inflatable disc.
Woman crowd surfing on inflatable



I wasn’t sure what to expect from NIN. In my mind, I thought they might just play the T In The Park set, but then there were niggling thoughts that they might play something completely different. I’d already written off the chances of seeing The Frail and The Wretched. This would be a shame as they didn’t play them in Manchester or London. I also saw a number of tweets from the NIN account which showed them playing some different songs in other European countries. One of these which I wished I could have seen live again was Something I Can Never Have. Overall though, I guess I expected to see a shortened down version of one of the earlier UK dates with maybe a couple of changes. What we got is probably best explained by the man himself:

“trent_reznor posted: We played a purposely quiet, intimate set. I figured it would either enrage or baffle the metal audience... but to our amazement it went over great!
Really fun set to play in that environment.”
Nine Inch Nails


The set was The Way Out Is Through; Wish; I Do Not Want This; Something I Can Never Have; Gone, Still; The Frail; The Wretched; Non-Entity; Lights In The Sky; The Downward Spiral and Hurt.
Nine Inch Nails
It was not the set-list I expected, and some of the omissions really surprised me (no Head Like A Hole, Hand That Feeds, March of The Pigs etc) but this wasn’t a bad thing. I could talk for ages about how good I thought NIN were, but I feel that part of the reason I thought they were so good is because they played some songs I either haven’t seen live, or hadn’t seen since 2007. This point of view wasn’t shared by two of the people I went with who weren’t at either arena show. I don’t think they disliked NIN, but would have loved to have heard some of the songs that me and Dave were able to hear earlier in July. I think honestly, the only song I’d have loved to have heard live again is the cover they do of David Bowie’s song, I’m Afraid of Americans. It wasn’t a must, but it was good live. The best part of the set for me was hearing Something I Can Never Have, Gone, Still, The Frail & The Wretched all following each other. There is a youtube video of the latter two being played which can be seen here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13xHmuy4YHY. I will simply end this part by saying NIN are easily in my list of top 5 best live bands, and I feel (struggling to find words so this could sound shit) truly honoured to have been able to see them live 5 times. Each show has had something different to offer and I have never walked away from the gig without a smile on my face (and that includes the first time which came a day after I had broken up with an ex). I am sad to say that Sunday was the last time I’ll likely see NIN live, but if Trent ever does end this hiatus and decides to come back to these shores, I will do all I can to be there to see them live again. Kerrang doesn’t often get it right, but they talked about the o2 gig and said of Trent that it’s unlikely we’ll ever see anyone of his class again. This I completely agree with, and wish Trent and the rest of the band luck with the rest of the shows and life after. The crowd at the front didn’t move much after NIN had finished which suggested them, like us, were there not only for a good spot for NIN, but so they could get a good spot for Metallica (10+).


The good thing about Metallica live is they rarely disappoint. In my experiences, they have never disappointed. Listening back to the live mp3s of the shows I’ve been to, Download 2006 was probably the worst actual performance by the band (James Hetfield seemed to have a bad throat and coughed a fair bit was a major part of that judgement) but I remember leaving with the biggest grin on my face as it was the first time I saw Metallica live. That performance will always be special because of that, and also because they played the whole of Master of Puppets live. Having seen Metallica twice earlier in the year, the set-list structure was fairly consistent but the actual set wasn’t (in that the set would open with the same songs, and certain songs would be in the same place for every show). This was the same at the summer Europe shows and indeed at Knebworth. The summer shows were slightly altered from the arena shows in that instead of having the first two Death Magnetic songs to open, they had one of Blackened, Battery or Fight Fire With Fire to open, followed by Creeping Death. Having seen Metallica inside an arena as well, I’d pretty much decided that them inside was better than them at a festival/outdoor gig. This meant in my mind before they started, they’d need to do something pretty damn amazing. Not only was this achieved, but with this performance confirmed them as my favourite band to see live and also this being my favourite Metallica experience. I remember saying before and at the event that I’d love to see one of Blackened, Dyers Eve or Stone Cold Crazy. These songs had appeared throughout the tour and therefore it was not entirely unlikely that one maybe played. The set-list was:

Blackened
Creeping Death
Fuel
Of Wolf and Man
Fade To Black
Broken, Beat and Scarred
Cyanide
Sad But True
One
All Nightmare Long
The Day That Never Comes
Master of Puppets
Dyers Eve
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
-----------------------
Stone Cold Crazy
Hit The Lights
Seek and Destroy

Three words – Holy fucking shit! Ok time for more words. It is always spine-tingling to hear “The Ecstasy of Gold” before they come out on stage, but to be right down the front for it is something special. During the intro tape of Blackened the crowd (myself included) were going nuts. This feeling carried on throughout most of the first four songs to the extent we ended up about 4-5 rows back from where we started and briefly losing Jon.
Metallica
However the further back part of the crowd was a bit less (by which I mean not much but somewhat less) rowdy. It was simply amazing to see Blackened and also Of Wolf and Man (another song I hadn’t seen live). Someone nearby noticed that when James Hetfield first swapped guitars, it was for the one he uses for Fade To Black, and thankfully this was the case. The song is just amazing live. First time seeing it was at Wembley, this time was the 3rd time and it’s always makes a set-list even better.
Metallica
If there were any weaknesses for me in the set, it would be the choice of Cyanide. They performed it great, but I’d have much preferred to see Judas Kiss or My Apocalypse in its place. One was simply epic as always (got the video up on here of the pre-song pyro if anyone wants to see it). All Nightmare Long and The Day That Never Comes are just beasts of songs live. Master of Puppets was its usual amazing self but the 2nd best highlight of the whole set (other than the opening) for me was the next song, Dyers Eve.
Metallica
One of the three I’d hoped would play, the performance was breathtaking. The following two from the self titled album were predictable but still great. The encore was just fantastic as well, with Stone Cold Crazy getting played and Hit The Lights. The latter I saw in the encore the time before this seeing ‘Tallica live, but there just seemed to be something more special about this performance of it (could be the fact I was on such a high about the whole set at this point). With a random performance of Seek and Destroy (not random in the fact it played, but random in the fact James Hetfield was guitar-less and up against the barrier for most of it. The song closed and James Hetfield got covered in pie and silly string as it was his birthday.
Metallica
After thanking the crowd again, Metallica left – ending what was (as I said earlier) the best live performance I’ve ever seen from them, or any band.

And so then the live music for the day had finished, well at least for us. A much needed sit down was required after that. We basically spent the next 3hrs or so sitting in various locations around the site. We sat near the club part as well when the Fuel Girls were on. The music they played was pretty good (very Delight-esque which wasn’t bad). Some stuff though I never thought I’d hear in a club setting (including Iron Maiden – Can I Play With Madness?). After finding out the comedy was cancelled, and buying another drink, it was time to move on. Well, we could have stayed for the silent disco but I don’t really understand the point of them, and like fuck was I paying a £10 deposit to find out. The official website advises you not to walk from the festival site to Stevenage as you have to cross motorways and walk in places where there was no pavement. While all of this is true, there was also no sign towards the shuttle bus zone, and whether they were running at 2am. We walked back (including crossing that cattle grate in pitch-black settings, that were fun). The walk was fairly short and we ended up in a very Ocean Retail type place before too long. Seemed very nice and clean. The town centre was just a stone’s throw away from there as well. Probably took about an hour to leave the site, walk to Stevenage and find our bus stop for the morning. Unfortunately there was now an issue. 3am-ish we arrived to the stop, and the coach wasn’t due until 6.38am. After walking around a bit we all pretty much decided some sleep was in order. I think I managed to sleep for about 45mins on and off but I can’t be certain. Woke up at 4.30am, freezing (having used my hoodie as a pillow) and also slightly pissed off I hadn’t slept for longer. After trying many ways to make the time pass, it eventually did and we left to go home. Got off the train and that is the trip in a very large nutshell. Picture (if you will) a walnut but the size of the peach from James and The Giant Peach, that sort of nutshell. Was Sonisphere worth it? Absolutely. Would I go again? If the line-up was good, without hesitation (however if it clashed with Wacken, then maybe not). I have much respect for what they achieved in Year One and am interested to see how it grows.